The anterior pelvic internal fixator is increasingly used for the treatment of unstable, or displaced, injuries of the anterior pelvic ring. The evidence for its use, however, is limited. The aim of this paper is to describe the indications for its use, how it is applied and its complications.Patients and Methods
We reviewed the case notes and radiographs of 50 patients treated with an anterior pelvic internal fixator between April 2010 and December 2015 at a major trauma centre in the United Kingdom. The median follow-up time was 38 months (interquartile range 24 to 51).Results
Three patients were excluded from the analysis leaving 47 patients with complete follow-up data. Of the 47 patients, 46 achieved radiological union and one progressed to an asymptomatic nonunion. Of the remaining patients, 45 required supplementary posterior fixation with percutaneous iliosacral screws, 2 of which required sacral plating. The incidence of injury to the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) was 34%. The rate of infection was 2%. There were no other significant complications. Without this treatment, 44 patients (94%) would have needed unilateral or bilateral open reduction and plate fixation extending laterally to the hip joint.Conclusion
The anterior pelvic internal fixator reduces the need for extensive open surgery and is a useful addition to the armamentarium for the treatment of anterior pelvic injuries. It is associated with injury to the LFCN in a third of patients.